Cross-language perceptual category mapping: Korean perception of English obstruents.

Hanyong Park, Kenneth J. de Jong, and Noah Silvert.

Dept. of Linguist., Indiana Univ., 322 Memorial Hall, Bloomington, IN 47405

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Volume 115, No. 5, Pt. 2, p. 2504.


Models, such as SLM and PAM, predict that performance on second language sounds is determined by the perceptual relationship of the sounds to the original language categories. To measure this relationship, Schmidt [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 99, 3201--3211] had native Korean speakers classify English consonant productions into Korean orthographic categories, and assess the similarity of the consonants to the chosen categories. The current experiment further examines how Korean labeling relates to accuracy in using English orthographic categories. Results show Koreans poorly identify sounds rated as dissimilar from Korean categories. Similarly, sounds that are inconsistently labeled with Korean labels are less accurately identified. These results suggest that accuracy varies with the nearness of the English and a Korean category, and thus English categories are developed from original Korean categories. However, other results indicate that sounds straddling Korean categories can be very accurately labeled, suggesting a complete suppression of native contrasts. In addition, identification accuracy for subjectively odd sounds can be very high, suggesting the development of a new category. Similarly, cases in which both Korean and English labeling is inconsistent show no relationship between the Korean and the English labels, indicating that the English categories are constructed apart from the existing Korean categories.